Tampa’s Gift Card King Gets 5 Years for Money Laundering, Loses Escalade, $690,000

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Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced Stephen H. McIntyre (51, Tampa) to five years and three months in federal prison for conspiring to commit money laundering. The court also ordered McIntyre to forfeit more than $690,000, a 2014 Cadillac Escalade, and other funds that are traceable to the proceeds of the money laundering conspiracy.

McIntyre had pleaded guilty on January 21, 2020.

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According to court documents, from March 2014 through February 2019, McIntyre operated SHM Gulf Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Tampa Gift Card King (“GCK”). Located in Tampa, GCK was a secondhand dealer where individuals sold their unused, or partially used, returned merchandise cards and retail gift cards, some of which were procured via theft or fraud, for a percentage of the cards’ face value in exchange for cash. Thereafter, McIntyre and his co-conspirators resold the returned merchandise cards and gift cards even though they knew some of the cards had been obtained via theft or fraud. McIntyre and his co-conspirators also conducted other illicit transactions involving the cards and used the proceeds for their personal enrichment.

In operating GCK, McIntyre violated certain state law requirements including operating without registering as a secondhand dealer, flouting the requirement to wait 15 days between the purchase and resale of a secondhand good, and failing to accurately report all secondhand good purchases in the designated computer database, Business Watch International. In fact, McIntyre could not register as a secondhand dealer because he has prior theft-related felony convictions that precluded such registration. When confronted by law enforcement about this fact, McIntyre orchestrated a purported sale of the GCK to a nominee owner, but he never relinquished control of the business.

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McIntyre and his co-conspirators resold most of the merchandise and gift cards via online commercial platforms, direct internet sales, and other means. McIntyre generated more than $10 million in proceeds from the resales of the cards to unwitting third-party purchasers via online commercial platforms including Raise.com and CardCash.

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McIntyre and co-conspirator Brandy Fuller later used the card numbers and PINs of some of the previously sold cards in order to identify residual balances on the cards. They then stole the residual balances, aggregated them, and used the proceeds to purchase new gift cards.

McIntyre and his co-conspirators used the proceeds of this fraud scheme to purchase and renovate real properties, acquire vehicles, finance business operations, and otherwise for their personal enrichment.

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Fuller previously pleaded guilty to her role in this case. She was sentenced to 36 months’ probation and was ordered to pay $25,925 in restitution.